Violent clashes between two groups shattered the Ramzan peace on the eve of Ram Navami in the minority-dominated Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar (formerly, Aurangaad) city, here on Wednesday-Thursday night, officials said.
The clashes broke out around midnight on Wednesday in the Kiradpura area with some people from different communities shouting slogans followed by stone pelting at each other.
Soon, it turned more violent with around 20 vehicles, including some belonging to police, in the vicinity allegedly being set ablaze by the rioters.
Police teams were rushed there to combat the situation but even they were targeted by the stone pelters, and later a SRPF team was also deployed there.
At one point, the police resorted to mild caning and bursting teargas shells to control the rioters as additional forces rushed there.
Finally, the situation was brought under control early on Thursday morning, even as Deputy Chief Minister and home minister Devendra Fadnavis appealed for restraint.
There are no reports of any casualties in the incident that has left the minority-dominated city worried in the middle of the Holy Ramadan month of fasting.
The trigger for the sudden violence is allegedly due to some miscreants playing loud music outside a mosque in Kiradpura, though officials have not commented on it so far.
Shiv Sena (UBT)’s Leader of Opposition (Council) Ambadas Danve condemned the clashes and blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party and All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen for the disturbances.
Condemning the developments, Sena (UBT) MP Sanjay Raut asked whether “these are the riots that are being feared” and said that “there is no home department in the state”.
Sena (UBT) strongman from the city Chandrakant Khaire said “Fadnavis is the masterminda of the arson-rioting that rocked the world-famous tourist destination of Ajanta-Ellora Cave temples.
On the other hand, the ruling Shiv Sena-BJP accused the Sena (UBT) of trying to play politics over last night’s rioting.
Hitting back, Fadnavis said that some persons – whom he did not identify – are deliberately making vituperative statements in an attempt to aggravate the situation and appealed to them to refrain from doing so, as the city is peaceful now.
State President of AIMIM and MP Syed Imtiaz Jaleel called upon the government to launch a combing operation and weed out the culprits responsible for the night of disturbances.
Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar Police Commissioner Nikhil Gupta said they are keeping an eye open for any potential troublemakers, while the district Collector has convened a high-level meeting to discuss the scenario.